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Examples of Paraphrasing Without Plagiarizing
Paraphrasing involves taking a passage — either spoken or written — and rewording it. Writers often paraphrase sentences and paragraphs to deliver information in a more concise way, as you'll see in the examples below. When paraphrasing, it is important to keep the original meaning so that the facts remain intact. Basically, you are writing something in your own words that still expresses the original idea.
Paraphrasing is common when writing an essay or research paper. It allows you to explain important ideas in your own writing style and focus on the information that is most useful in making your point. Even when you put someone else's ideas into your own words, you must cite the source of your information. This gives credit to the original author for their ideas.
Paraphrasing is slightly different than summarizing . When you summarize a passage, you focus on restating only the main idea in your own words. Paraphrasing, on the other hand, aims to provide most of the information in a slightly condensed form. Summaries are much shorter than the original passage, while paraphrasing can be shorter, longer or the same length.
Sometimes you only need to paraphrase the information from one sentence. Here are some examples of paraphrasing individual sentences:
- Original : Her life spanned years of incredible change for women as they gained more rights than ever before. Paraphrase: She lived through the exciting era of women's liberation.
- Original : Giraffes like Acacia leaves and hay, and they can consume 75 pounds of food a day. Paraphrase : A giraffe can eat up to 75 pounds of Acacia leaves and hay daily.
- Original : Any trip to Italy should include a visit to Tuscany to sample the region's exquisite wines. Paraphrase : Be sure to make time for a Tuscan wine-tasting experience when visiting Italy.
- Original : Symptoms of influenza include fever and nasal congestion. Paraphrase : A stuffy nose and elevated temperature are signs you may have the flu.
- Original : The price of a resort vacation typically includes meals, tips and equipment rentals, which makes your trip more cost-effective. Paraphrase : All-inclusive resort vacations can make for an economical trip.
- Original : He has tons of stuff to throw away. Paraphrase : He needs to get rid of a lot of junk.
Paraphrasing a longer passage can take a little more effort, as you have to ensure it is different enough from the original to be classed as your own work.
Here is an example of paraphrasing a paragraph from “Family Values and Feudal Codes: The Social Politics of America’s Twenty-First Century Gangster.” Journal of Popular Culture 37.4 (2004) by Ingrid Field Walker, taken from Duke University Libraries .
In The Sopranos , the mob is besieged as much by inner infidelity as it is by the federal government. Early in the series, the greatest threat to Tony's Family is his own biological family. One of his closest associates turns witness for the FBI, his mother colludes with his uncle to contract a hit on Tony, and his kids click through Web sites that track the federal crackdown in Tony's gangland.
In the first season of The Sopranos , Tony Soprano’s mobster activities are more threatened by members of his biological family than by agents of the federal government. This familial betrayal is multi-pronged. Tony’s closest friend and associate is an FBI informant, his mother and uncle are conspiring to have him killed, and his children are surfing the Web for information about his activities.
The main point of this passage is that problems within the family are as bad as, if not worse than, problems caused by the federal government. Details about this betrayal include someone close turning informant, a hit being put out on Tony by family members, and Tony’s kids tracking his activities. As you can see, the main idea and important details are included in the paraphrased version, though the wording is quite different.
Here is a summary of some of the main changes made during the paraphrasing process:
- Early in the series = first season
- Greatest threat = more threatened
- One of his closest associates = closest friend and associate
- His mother colludes with his uncle = his mother and uncle are conspiring
- His kids click through Web sites = his children are surfing the Web
There is a fine line between plagiarism and paraphrasing. If the wording, or even the sentence structure , of the paraphrased text is too close to the wording of the original content, it will look like you are trying to pass off someone else's words as your own. This is plagiarism, which is unethical and even illegal in some cases. The main ideas need to come through, but the wording has to be your own.
If you don't think you can paraphrase a sentence or passage and have the meaning come across as clearly, you can use the original author's exact words if you put them in quotation marks. You will also need to identify the source of the material by giving the author's name. For example:
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
In this example, Dr. King's exact words are quoted, and he is given credit for them in the sentence.
If you choose to paraphrase information and put it into your own words instead, you will still need to give credit to the original author for ideas that are unique and not common knowledge. For example:
- According to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, the economy is doing well based on GDP and falling unemployment.
In this case, the writer put Paul Krugman's ideas into their own words, but still gave credit for them by naming him as the source. This is required when the ideas aren't considered general knowledge available to all. Because Krugman is an expert in economics, these ideas are his and should be cited as such.
On the other hand, common facts like historical dates and basic information do not need to be cited. For example, you would not need to find an encyclopedia article to back you up if you wrote that the Battle of Gettysburg ended on July 3, 1863, or that the earth revolves around the sun. These are well-known facts accepted by all and do not require sources.
When writing a report or a research paper, you'll need to master paraphrasing to present relevant information in a clear, concise way. Practice putting facts and figures into your own words, and be sure to cite sources in the format required by your instructor, and you'll have no trouble getting your point across without worrying about plagiarism.
Now you know how to successfully paraphrase, we can show you how to correctly cite your sources with some bibliography examples .
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Here is the original source an author might use in a paper:
Differentiation as an instructional approach promotes a balance between a student's style and a student's ability. Differentiated instruction provides the student with options for processing and internalizing the content, and for constructing new learning in order to progress academically.
Here is an example of bad paraphrasing of the source. Even though the student is citing correctly, underlined words are simply synonyms of words used in the original source. You can also see how the sentence structure is the same for both the original source and this paraphrase.
Differentiation is a way to encourage equality between the approach and talent of the student (Thompson, 2009). This type of instruction gives students different ways to deal with and grasp information , and for establishing new learning to move on in education (Thompson, 2009).
Here is an example of a better way to paraphrase the source. In this example, the author has taken the essential ideas and information from the original source, but has worded it in her own way, using unique word choice and sentence structure. The author has condensed Thompson's (2009) information, including what is relevant to her paper, but leaving out extra details that she does not needed.
Teachers use differentiated instruction to help students learn, allowing the teacher to cater lessons to the way each student learns and each student's skill (Thompson, 2009).
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10 Examples of Paraphrasing for a Smarter, Better Essay
We all know that when you write a research paper, you need evidence to support your arguments.
That means you throw in a few quotes to prove to your professor that you’ve actually used sources to help write your paper, right?
Sure, it’s important to add some quotes, but too many quotes can mean that your paper turns into one long quotation from other people, leaving no room for your own words.
If your paper turns into one big quote, you’re not even writing the paper. You’re just copying other people’s words. While that may seem like the easy way out, you won’t earn a good grade by doing this.
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After all, your assignment is to write a paper, not copy and paste a paper.
Instead of copying a bunch of quotes to prove that you’ve done your research, try paraphrasing.
When you paraphrase, you’ll include information from sources in your own words, so your professors will still know you’re using sources, but you won’t have to quote everything.
To learn more, keep reading, as this blog post explains the do’s and don’ts of paraphrasing and includes 10 examples of paraphrasing for a smarter, better essay.
What is Paraphrasing?
Contrary to what you might think, paraphrasing is not simply changing a few words.
Yes, in order to paraphrase, you will need to change words, but you just can’t change the word “gathering” to “party” and call it a paraphrase.
A properly written paraphrase expresses the ideas of a source or passage in your own words and sentence structure.
Remember, you’re writing a paper for your class, so you should still use formal, academic language . Don’t use slang or jargon.
Isn’t a Paraphrase Just Like a Summary?
No. A summary is a shortened version of a piece of writing. It is written in your own words and includes only the key points of the writing . A summary is much shorter than the original source.
A paraphrase is similar to a summary because you are rewriting the source in your own words. They key difference is that paraphrases include both key points and subpoints. Because a paraphrase includes detailed information it can sometimes be as long (if not longer) than the original source.
In either case, it’s important to keep the meaning of the original source. You can’t leave out words or add words to make the source fit into your paper if it changes the meaning .
Do I Have to Cite a Paraphrase?
Yes. Always. There’s no question as to whether you should or shouldn’t cite. Always cite a paraphrase.
When you paraphrase, you’re rewriting someone else’s words into your own words. You’re essentially using someone else’s ideas in your paper.
If you claim the information as your own (which is what you do if you don’t cite a paraphrase) you’re plagiarizing.
And, of course, plagiarism means you’ll fail the paper and may even get kicked out of school!
How Do I Paraphrase?
First read the source carefully so you actually know what it means. You can’t use it as a source if you don’t understand it.
Next find the part of the source you want to paraphrase. You’re not rewriting the entire source in your paper, so don’t paraphrase much more than a paragraph.
Finally, and pay attention to this step because it’s important, set the source aside.
Write your paraphrase without looking at the original source. This will help you write in your own words and help you resist the temptation to use the wording and sentence structure of the original source.
Need some help putting this into practice? Read the examples below to learn what you should and shouldn’t do when paraphrasing.
10 Examples of Paraphrasing to Help Your Essay
Example paraphrase 1. “police: man breaks into austin meat business, naps”.
Original source: “AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police have arrested a 28-year-old man who they say broke into an Austin business, stole a couple of sausages and fell asleep.”
This paraphrase uses original wording and sentence structure, but it is plagiarized because it does not cite the original source.
This paraphrase includes a proper MLA in-text citation to give credit to the source.
Example Paraphrase 2. “Police: Man fled crash to avoid yelling girlfriend”
Original source: “VINELAND, N.J. (AP) — Police in New Jersey say a man told officers he fled the scene of an auto accident because he ‘didn’t want to deal with his girlfriend yelling at him.’”
The paraphrase only changes a few words. Most of the words and sentence structure are too close to the original for this to be a good paraphrase.
Example Paraphrase 3. “Plumber Caught Dancing On The Job Has All The Fly Moves”
Original source: “The video of Topen’s dancing has racked up more than 400,000 views since it was posted on YouTube last week, and the plumber says he’s already been approached in public for his autograph.”
This paraphrase has two key problems: it doesn’t cite the original source, and it copies too much of the original wording and sentence structure.
Example Paraphrase 4. “These Are Miley Cyrus’ Crazy Dating Rules”
Original source: “According to Heat magazine, Miley has a list of intense rules for her men-to-be while out on dates. Apparently her assistant arranges what the guy must wear, do, and talk about on the date. She’s also not into flowers, so he’s banned from bringing her those.”
This isn’t even a paraphrase. It just leaves out a few words. Remember, a paraphrase must provide the same information as the original and be written in your own word choice and sentence structure.
Example Paraphrase 5. “Top 12 Bizarre Pet Accidents”
Original source: “Often, a dog will chase an animal with the focus of a heat-seeking missile. But a wheelbarrow planter was not part of Belgian sheepdog Rider’s focus. Rider collided with the wheelbarrow while the squirrel escaped up a cedar tree in Joyce Biethan’s backyard.
“He’s kind of an all-or-nothing dog and he went into ‘all,'” Biethan said. “He chased after that squirrel with total disregard of what might be in front of him.”
His collision left Rider with a broken scapula, a broken rib and a punctured lung.
“He was in so much pain that I think he just tried to lay low,” Biethan said. “He prescribed himself bedrest.”
Biethan said Rider did not need surgery and made a full recovery.”
Can you guess what’s missing from this paraphrase? Details!
The example does paraphrase some information, but it reads more like a summary, as it’s missing key details from the story.
Example Paraphrase 6. “10 Crazy Reasons People Got Rejected From College”
Original source: “College admissions officers all advise against writing a college admission essay about something that an applicant learned while stoned or drunk. “But we still get a few of those essays,” a college admissions officer tells me. “We even got the classic one about how the student, while stoned, realized that the solar system is an atom and the earth is an electron. You’ll remember, that conversation occurred in the movie Animal House .”
Remember what I said earlier about writing an accurate paraphrase? This is a good example.
This attempted paraphrase is about college admissions essays, but that’s where the accuracy stops. Make sure to read the source carefully so you paraphrase correctly.
Example Paraphrase 7. “Over-the-top international fast-food items”
Original source: “For some reason, cheese-topped donuts are quite popular in Indonesia, and in September 2013 KFC decided to get in on the action, offering a glazed donut topped with shredded Swiss and cheddar cheese.”
This example is outright plagiarism. This isn’t a paraphrase at all; it simply omits a few words.
Even though it includes a proper MLA in-text citation, it doesn’t rewrite the original using your own wording or sentence structure.
Example Paraphrase 8. “Original Batmobile, built in 1963, fetches $137,000”
Original source: “DALLAS (Reuters) – Holy Bargain, Batman! The original Batmobile fetched $137,000 at auction on Saturday, a small fraction of the $4.2 million that a buyer paid last year for another version built for the television show that aired during the 1960s.”
Here’s a case of not reading carefully!
Reread the original again. You’ll see that the paraphrase is inaccurate. The Batmobile built for the 1960’s TV show actually sold for $4.2 million.
Example Paraphrase 9. “Police: Man Swapped furniture while neighbors away”
Original source: “TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state man is accused of swapping furniture with his neighbors while they were away.
“The News Tribune reports the Lakewood man and a friend who is accused of helping him pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of residential burglary.
“Court papers say a couple who returned to their apartment Monday found their love seat, matching chair and other belongings gone. A recliner and TV stand were left in their place.
Information on a traffic ticket and pizza receipt pointed to the neighbor.
“The man told police he thought the couple had moved and abandoned their furniture. Police say he told them he was drunk when he decided to switch furniture, calling his buddy for help.”
Where do I start with the problems here?
First, there is no citation. Without the citation, the paraphrase is plagiarized.
Second, the paraphrase is too brief and does not summarize the information accurately.
While the man did switch furniture with his neighbors, it’s important to note that he did so without his neighbor’s knowledge and while he was drunk.
Example Paraphrase 10. “Man Scares off Thieves with Gun on Walker”
Original source: “A 68-year-old Gastonia man says he scared off two men in ski masks trying to break in his home with his gun he can keep on his walker. And then he taped a note to his door saying if they try to break in his house again, he will be waiting on them.”
This paraphrase uses too many of the same word choices, but it also contains another error. Simply breaking a paraphrase into multiple sentences does not mean you’re writing it in your own words.
What’s the Takeaway?
Remember these three tips to paraphrase like a pro.
- Include key points and sub-points from the original source.
- Write a paraphrase in your own words and use your own sentence structure.
- Always cite a paraphrase.
Don’t forget to have our Kibin editors review your paper. While they can’t paraphrase your document for you, they can make sure that your paraphrasing makes sense and is grammatically correct!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays .
About the Author
Susan M. Inez is a professor of English and writing goddess based out of the Northeast. In addition to a BA in English Education, an MA in Composition, and an MS in Education, Susan has 20 years of experience teaching courses on composition, writing in the professions, literature, and more. She also served as co-director of a campus writing center for 2 years.
Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
Sample Essay for Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting
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This handout is intended to help you become more comfortable with the uses of and distinctions among quotations, paraphrases, and summaries. This handout compares and contrasts the three terms, gives some pointers, and includes a short excerpt that you can use to practice these skills.
The following is a sample essay you can practice quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing. Examples of each task are provided at the end of the essay for further reference. Here is the citation for Sipher's essay:
Sipher, Roger. “So That Nobody Has to Go to School If They Don't Want To.” The New York Times , 19 Dec. 1977, p. 31.
So That Nobody Has To Go To School If They Don't Want To
by Roger Sipher
A decline in standardized test scores is but the most recent indicator that American education is in trouble.
One reason for the crisis is that present mandatory-attendance laws force many to attend school who have no wish to be there. Such children have little desire to learn and are so antagonistic to school that neither they nor more highly motivated students receive the quality education that is the birthright of every American.
The solution to this problem is simple: Abolish compulsory-attendance laws and allow only those who are committed to getting an education to attend.
This will not end public education. Contrary to conventional belief, legislators enacted compulsory-attendance laws to legalize what already existed. William Landes and Lewis Solomon, economists, found little evidence that mandatory-attendance laws increased the number of children in school. They found, too, that school systems have never effectively enforced such laws, usually because of the expense involved.
There is no contradiction between the assertion that compulsory attendance has had little effect on the number of children attending school and the argument that repeal would be a positive step toward improving education. Most parents want a high school education for their children. Unfortunately, compulsory attendance hampers the ability of public school officials to enforce legitimate educational and disciplinary policies and thereby make the education a good one.
Private schools have no such problem. They can fail or dismiss students, knowing such students can attend public school. Without compulsory attendance, public schools would be freer to oust students whose academic or personal behavior undermines the educational mission of the institution.
Has not the noble experiment of a formal education for everyone failed? While we pay homage to the homily, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," we have pretended it is not true in education.
Ask high school teachers if recalcitrant students learn anything of value. Ask teachers if these students do any homework. Quite the contrary, these students know they will be passed from grade to grade until they are old enough to quit or until, as is more likely, they receive a high school diploma. At the point when students could legally quit, most choose to remain since they know they are likely to be allowed to graduate whether they do acceptable work or not.
Abolition of archaic attendance laws would produce enormous dividends.
First, it would alert everyone that school is a serious place where one goes to learn. Schools are neither day-care centers nor indoor street corners. Young people who resist learning should stay away; indeed, an end to compulsory schooling would require them to stay away.
Second, students opposed to learning would not be able to pollute the educational atmosphere for those who want to learn. Teachers could stop policing recalcitrant students and start educating.
Third, grades would show what they are supposed to: how well a student is learning. Parents could again read report cards and know if their children were making progress.
Fourth, public esteem for schools would increase. People would stop regarding them as way stations for adolescents and start thinking of them as institutions for educating America's youth.
Fifth, elementary schools would change because students would find out early they had better learn something or risk flunking out later. Elementary teachers would no longer have to pass their failures on to junior high and high school.
Sixth, the cost of enforcing compulsory education would be eliminated. Despite enforcement efforts, nearly 15 percent of the school-age children in our largest cities are almost permanently absent from school.
Communities could use these savings to support institutions to deal with young people not in school. If, in the long run, these institutions prove more costly, at least we would not confuse their mission with that of schools.
Schools should be for education. At present, they are only tangentially so. They have attempted to serve an all-encompassing social function, trying to be all things to all people. In the process they have failed miserably at what they were originally formed to accomplish.
Example Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation from the Essay:
Example summary: Roger Sipher makes his case for getting rid of compulsory-attendance laws in primary and secondary schools with six arguments. These fall into three groups—first that education is for those who want to learn and by including those that don't want to learn, everyone suffers. Second, that grades would be reflective of effort and elementary school teachers wouldn't feel compelled to pass failing students. Third, that schools would both save money and save face with the elimination of compulsory-attendance laws.
Example paraphrase of the essay's conclusion: Roger Sipher concludes his essay by insisting that schools have failed to fulfill their primary duty of education because they try to fill multiple social functions (par. 17).
Example quotation: According to Roger Sipher, a solution to the perceived crisis of American education is to "[a]bolish compulsory-attendance laws and allow only those who are committed to getting an education to attend" (par. 3).
- Literary Terms
- Definition & Examples
- When & How to Use Paraphrase
I. What is a Paraphrase?
A paraphrase (pronounced par – uh -freyz) is a restatement or rewording of a paragraph or text, in order to borrow, clarify, or expand on information without plagiarizing. Paraphrasing is an important tool to use when writing research papers, essays , and pieces of journalism.
II. Examples of Paraphrasing
For examples of paraphrasing, consider these possible re-wordings of the same statement:
She angered me with her inappropriate comments, rumor-spreading, and disrespectfulness at the formal dinner table.
She made me angry when she was rude at dinner.
This paraphrase is an example of a rewording which shortens and simplifies while maintaining the same meaning.
Her impoliteness, gossiping, and general lack of respect at dinner infuriated me.
This rephrasing maintains the same meaning but is rearranged in a creative way.
I was mad when she started spreading rumors, making inappropriate comments, and disrespecting other guests at our dinner.
Another paraphrase, this rewording properly and interestingly rearranges the information provided in the original sentence.
III. Types of Paraphrasing
A. change of parts of speech.
Parts of speech ranging from verbs and nouns to adjectives and adverbs are replaced with new parts of speech in this type of paraphrasing. Here is an example:
The boy quickly ran across the finish line, seizing yet another victory.
The quick boy seized yet another victory when he ran across the finish line.
In this example, many parts of speech are changed: the adverb quickly becomes the adjective quick, and the verb phrase with the gerund seizing becomes the verb seized.
B. Change of Structure
This type of paraphrasing involves changing the sentence’s structure, sometimes creating a passive voice from an active voice and vice versa. The change in structure can be used to reflect the writer’s interpretation of the original quote. Here is an example of change of structure paraphrasing:
Puppies were adopted by numerous kind souls at the puppy drive.
Many kind souls adopted puppies during the puppy drive.
In this example, the object of the sentence (kind souls) becomes the subject with an active voice (adopted) rather than a passive voice (were adopted).
C. Reduction of Clauses
Reduction of clauses paraphrases reduce the number of clauses in a sentence, which can be interruptive or confusing, by incorporating the phrases into the sentence. Here is an example of reduction of clauses paraphrasing:
While I understand where you’re coming from, and truly respect your opinion, I wish you would express yourself more clearly, like Clara does.
I understand where you’re coming from and respect your opinion, but I wish you would be more like Clara and express yourself more clearly.
D. Synonym Replacement
Synonym replacement paraphrasing is one of the simplest forms of paraphrasing: replacing words with similar words, or synonyms. Here is an example:
The older citizens were honored with a parade for those once in the military.
Senior citizens were honored with a march for veterans.
In this example, many synonyms are used: older citizens are senior citizens, a parade becomes a march, and those once in the military refers to veterans.
IV. The Importance of Using Paraphrase
Paraphrasing is a way of referencing a source without directly quoting it or of further explaining a selected quote. Correct paraphrasing is important in that poor paraphrasing can result in accusations of plagiarism, or copying from a source without correctly citing it. Paraphrasing allows writers to examine the meaning of others’ work, creatively rephrase their statements, and craft information to suit an essay or composition’s goal or focus.
V. Paraphrase in Literature
Paraphrasing can be found in a variety of journalistic sources from newspapers to film documentaries to literary journals. Here are a few examples of paraphrasing in literature:
Someone once wrote that musicians are touched on the shoulder by God, and I think it’s true. You can make other people happy with music, but you can make yourself happy too.
In John Berendt’s nonfiction novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil , a character references what someone has once written by paraphrasing their message.
I’m going to paraphrase Thoreau here… rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.
In this example from the nonfiction novel Into the Wild , Jon Krakauer paraphrases Thoreau’s larger message of transcendence.
So far, Laurance’s critiques of new road-building schemes have been well received, but he expects that to change.
In Michelle Nijhuis’ article “What Roads Have Wrought,” William Laurance is paraphrased rather than quoted to express his general viewpoint.
VI. Paraphrase in Pop Culture
Paraphrasing is often found in pop culture when attempting to translate the language of older plays, poems, and stories, such as Shakespeare’s works. Here are a few examples of paraphrasing in pop culture:
10 Things I Hate About You (1999):
Just a minor encounter with the shrew… the mewling, rampalian wretch herself.
In the modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew , many characters ’ lines paraphrase Shakespeare’s originals. Here is Shakespeare’s version:
A meacock wretch can make the curstest shrew.
A Different World: Romeo, Oh Romeo
First, the student reads Shakespeare’s original words:
Oh gentle Romeo. If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully. Or if thou thinkest I’m too quickly won, I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay, so thou wilt woo.
Then, she paraphrases to translate its meaning for modern ears:
It’s all about translation. Oh, sweet thang Romeo. If you think I’m all that, then step to me correctly. But if you think I’m a skeeze, I’ll be dissin’ and dismissin’, then you’ll be workin’ overtime getting’ me back.
VII. Related Terms
Like paraphrases, summaries are rewordings of original statements. Whereas paraphrases are precise and specific, summaries are brief and selective. Summaries report main points in a shortened version of the original, whereas paraphrases simply restate the original statement in a new way. Here is an example of summary versus paraphrase:
At the party we had delicious red punch, a bunch of different appetizers, and a cookout. Since it was at the park, we played volleyball, went swimming, and sunbathed for fun.
At the party we enjoyed food and drink and various outdoor activities.
Here, the summary purposefully shortens the original statement while covering its major points.
At the party we drank some punch, ate a handful of appetizers, and had a cookout. The park allowed us to enjoy a number of enjoyable activities from volleyball to swimming to sunbathing.
As this example shows, the paraphrase rephrases the original statement and keeps more of its original content than the summary.
Although paraphrase sometimes translates difficult phrasing into more understandable phrasing, it is not literally considered translation. For something to be a translation, it must change writing in one language to another language. Here is an example of translation versus paraphrasing:
Translation into French:
C’est la vie.
That’s just how life goes sometimes.
Although we loosely may refer to paraphrase as translating ideas, technically it is not a tool of translation.
VIII. In Closing
Paraphrasing is an important tool for nonfiction writers, journalists, and essayists alike. It is a common proponent of news and reporting. Correct paraphrasing protects writers from plagiarism and allows them to creatively rephrase original works, incorporating them into their own compositions.
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How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples
Published on April 8, 2022 by Courtney Gahan and Jack Caulfield. Revised on November 4, 2022.
Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas into your own words. Paraphrasing a source involves changing the wording while preserving the original meaning.
Paraphrasing is an alternative to quoting (copying someone’s exact words and putting them in quotation marks ). In academic writing, it’s usually better to integrate sources by paraphrasing instead of quoting. It shows that you have understood the source, reads more smoothly, and keeps your own voice front and center.
Every time you paraphrase, it’s important to cite the source . Also take care not to use wording that is too similar to the original. Otherwise, you could be at risk of committing plagiarism .
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Table of contents
How to paraphrase in five easy steps, how to paraphrase correctly, examples of paraphrasing, how to cite a paraphrase, paraphrasing vs. quoting, paraphrasing vs. summarizing, avoiding plagiarism when you paraphrase, frequently asked questions about paraphrasing.
If you’re struggling to get to grips with the process of paraphrasing, check out our easy step-by-step guide in the video below.
Putting an idea into your own words can be easier said than done. Let’s say you want to paraphrase the text below, about population decline in a particular species of sea snails.
You might make a first attempt to paraphrase it by swapping out a few words for synonyms .
Like other sea creatures inhabiting the vicinity of highly populated coasts, horse conchs have lost substantial territory to advancement and contamination , including preferred breeding grounds along mud flats and seagrass beds. Their Gulf home is also heating up due to global warming , which scientists think further puts pressure on the creatures , predicated upon the harmful effects extra warmth has on other large mollusks (Barnett, 2022).
This attempt at paraphrasing doesn’t change the sentence structure or order of information, only some of the word choices. And the synonyms chosen are poor:
- “Advancement and contamination” doesn’t really convey the same meaning as “development and pollution.”
- Sometimes the changes make the tone less academic: “home” for “habitat” and “sea creatures” for “marine animals.”
- Adding phrases like “inhabiting the vicinity of” and “puts pressure on” makes the text needlessly long-winded.
- Global warming is related to climate change, but they don’t mean exactly the same thing.
Because of this, the text reads awkwardly, is longer than it needs to be, and remains too close to the original phrasing. This means you risk being accused of plagiarism .
Let’s look at a more effective way of paraphrasing the same text.
- Only included the information that’s relevant to our argument (note that the paraphrase is shorter than the original)
- Introduced the information with the signal phrase “Scientists believe that …”
- Retained key terms like “development and pollution,” since changing them could alter the meaning
- Structured sentences in our own way instead of copying the structure of the original
- Started from a different point, presenting information in a different order
Because of this, we’re able to clearly convey the relevant information from the source without sticking too close to the original phrasing.
Explore the tabs below to see examples of paraphrasing in action.
- Journal article
- Newspaper article
- Magazine article
Once you have your perfectly paraphrased text, you need to ensure you credit the original author. You’ll always paraphrase sources in the same way, but you’ll have to use a different type of in-text citation depending on what citation style you follow.
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It’s a good idea to paraphrase instead of quoting in most cases because:
- Paraphrasing shows that you fully understand the meaning of a text
- Your own voice remains dominant throughout your paper
- Quotes reduce the readability of your text
But that doesn’t mean you should never quote. Quotes are appropriate when:
- Giving a precise definition
- Saying something about the author’s language or style (e.g., in a literary analysis paper)
- Providing evidence in support of an argument
- Critiquing or analyzing a specific claim
A paraphrase puts a specific passage into your own words. It’s typically a similar length to the original text, or slightly shorter.
When you boil a longer piece of writing down to the key points, so that the result is a lot shorter than the original, this is called summarizing .
Paraphrasing and quoting are important tools for presenting specific information from sources. But if the information you want to include is more general (e.g., the overarching argument of a whole article), summarizing is more appropriate.
When paraphrasing, you have to be careful to avoid accidental plagiarism .
This can happen if the paraphrase is too similar to the original quote, with phrases or whole sentences that are identical (and should therefore be in quotation marks). It can also happen if you fail to properly cite the source.
Paraphrasing tools are widely used by students, and can be especially useful for non-native speakers who may find academic writing particularly challenging. While these can be helpful for a bit of extra inspiration, use these tools sparingly, keeping academic integrity in mind.
To make sure you’ve properly paraphrased and cited all your sources, you could elect to run a plagiarism check before submitting your paper. And of course, always be sure to read your source material yourself and take the first stab at paraphrasing on your own.
To paraphrase effectively, don’t just take the original sentence and swap out some of the words for synonyms. Instead, try:
- Reformulating the sentence (e.g., change active to passive , or start from a different point)
- Combining information from multiple sentences into one
- Leaving out information from the original that isn’t relevant to your point
- Using synonyms where they don’t distort the meaning
The main point is to ensure you don’t just copy the structure of the original text, but instead reformulate the idea in your own words.
Paraphrasing without crediting the original author is a form of plagiarism , because you’re presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own.
However, paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you correctly cite the source . This means including an in-text citation and a full reference, formatted according to your required citation style .
As well as citing, make sure that any paraphrased text is completely rewritten in your own words.
Plagiarism means using someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. Paraphrasing means putting someone else’s ideas in your own words.
So when does paraphrasing count as plagiarism?
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if you don’t properly credit the original author.
- Paraphrasing is plagiarism if your text is too close to the original wording (even if you cite the source). If you directly copy a sentence or phrase, you should quote it instead.
- Paraphrasing is not plagiarism if you put the author’s ideas completely in your own words and properly cite the source .
To present information from other sources in academic writing , it’s best to paraphrase in most cases. This shows that you’ve understood the ideas you’re discussing and incorporates them into your text smoothly.
It’s appropriate to quote when:
- Changing the phrasing would distort the meaning of the original text
- You want to discuss the author’s language choices (e.g., in literary analysis )
- You’re presenting a precise definition
- You’re looking in depth at a specific claim
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Gahan, C. & Caulfield, J. (2022, November 04). How to Paraphrase | Step-by-Step Guide & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 17, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/working-with-sources/how-to-paraphrase/
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Paraphrasing Examples: Top 5 Ways to Use Paraphrasing
Study these 5 paraphrasing examples to learn how to paraphrase when writing research papers and essays.
When writing a research paper or other project, you often need to work with other people’s writing. While you could easily put together a piece using many direct quotations, learning how to take someone else’s work and paraphrase it in your own words is valuable in your writing toolbox.
A good paraphrase keeps the author’s main ideas intact but says them differently. It shows that you have fully understood the information and can rephrase it to fit your overall piece’s writing style and tone.
As you learn to paraphrase, remember that you must still cite the original author. Unless the idea you are referencing is common knowledge in the field you are writing about, you must tell where the idea came from. In-text citations , as well as a bibliography page, are both essential.
As you consider how to change the wording of the original piece to fit your writing, looking at different paraphrasing examples will help you get a feel for what this rewriting looks like.
1. Paraphrasing Sentences by Changing Verb Tense
2. paraphrasing sentences by using synonyms, 3. paraphrasing an original work by changing the writing style, 4. paraphrasing paragraphs, 5. paraphrasing an entire work.
One way to paraphrase is to change the verb tense of the source material. For example, if it is written in passive voice, you could change it to active voice. If written in the past tense, you could change it to present or future tense.
Here are some examples:
- Original: Giraffes will eat Acacia leaves and hay, eating up to 75 pounds a day. (future tense)
- Paraphrase: A giraffe eats up to 75 pounds daily, including Acacia leaves and hay. (present tense)
- Original: Influenza can cause a runny nose and fever. (active voice)
- Paraphrase: People with influenza have experienced fevers and runny noses. (passive voice)
Changing the tense of the verbs may be all you need to do to adjust the sentence enough for it to be a paraphrase.
Another way to paraphrase your original passage for your research paper is to use synonyms for words. This will convey the same meaning without using the original author’s exact words. Remember that you still need to provide a citation using MLA or APA formatting to avoid plagiarism if the idea is the same as the source, but using synonyms is a great restatement option. Here are some examples:
- Original: In Santiago, COVID-19 dealt the hardest blow to people with low socioeconomic status, because of factors such as crowded households, a lack of health care, and an inability to work from home.
- Paraphrase: Because few people could telecommute, medical care was hard to get, and homes were crowded with people, the coronavirus pandemic hurt Santiago’s poorer people worse than other economic groups.
- Original: Paul McCrory, a prominent researcher whose work on concussions has shaped much of the sporting world’s current policies on diagnosing and treating head injuries, resigned March 5 from his role as chair of the Concussion in Sport Group following allegations of plagiarism.
- Paraphrase: Paul McCrory, concussion researcher who put a lot of work into the athletic world’s policies on head injury diagnostics and treatment, left his position as head of the Concussion in Sport Group on March 5 after accusations of plagiarism.
As long as the source is properly cited, these are appropriate paraphrases in academic writing.
Sometimes the goal of paraphrasing is to improve the accessibility of the work. You can take a scientific research study, for instance, and boil it down into its main points, using a more accessible tone and writing style in your own words to present the information. Again, as long as you use the APA pr MLA format to cite the paraphrased text, you can use this technique to present ideas in your writing.
- Original: When we go to the zoo, we may see penguins if the exhibit is open.
- Paraphrase: If the penguin house is open, we may be able to observe the birds on our visit to the zoo.
- Original: Many people reported symptoms of anxiety after the terrorist attack.
- Paraphrase: The terrorist attack caused anxiety symptoms in a number of the people.
- Original: For example, one study showed that food insufficiency was independently associated with all symptoms of poor mental health, but that association was mitigated for those who received free groceries or meals.
- Paraphrase: People who do not have enough to eat may struggle with their mental health, but free groceries or meals can help limit this problem.
These examples keep the sentence’s meaning but change the writing style to make it the writer’s own.
When you need to paraphrase an entire paragraph, you will likely use a combination of these techniques to rewrite the passage in your own words. Keep in mind that without citation, this is still considered plagiarism. Here are some examples:
- Original: The adolescent finds himself faced with multiple questions, contradictory demands, and ideas, which force him to deal with multiple conflicts, especially in light of physical, mental, social, psychological, emotional, and family changes. If these changes are negative, it will result in the failure of the adolescent to successfully form his identity, in addition to facing many problems such as social role disorder, identity confusion, or the adoption of negative identity, harming the adolescent’s life and future.
- Paraphrase: According to a 2021 Heliyon study, teenagers often face questions of identity, and they can have conflicting ideas about who they are and where they fit in society. The changes they face as they grow and develop, if they are negative, can cause them to have a poor identity formation. This problem can lead to challenges as the adolescent grows into adulthood.
- Original: In the immediate wake of a traumatic experience, large numbers of affected people report distress, including new or worsening symptoms of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Most people will recover, though that recovery can take some time. A notable fraction of people will develop chronic symptoms severe enough to meet criteria for a mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depressive disorder.
- Paraphrase: The National Institutes of Health warms that a traumatic experience, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, will cause a large number of mental health problems. People often report their symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, getting worse. Though recovery happens for many, it does take time, and some people will have problems like PTSD or major depressive disorder that require mental health treatment.
In these examples, the paraphrased writing seems easier for the average reader to understand, with less industry-specific jargon.
Finally, you can paraphrase an entire work by boiling its main points into a more concise format. If you shorten the work significantly, you are summarizing, not paraphrasing. However, this idea deserves a spot on this list because it is a way to use a source in your writing without using direct quotes. Here are some examples:
- Original: The first book in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
- Paraphrase: In this classic piece of children’s literature, a young boy wizard named Harry must go to battle against an enemy, Voldemort, who has been trying to kill him since birth.
- Original: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- Paraphrase: Two star-crossed lovers from opposing families try to find a life together, only to end in tragic death because of their warring families.
When paraphrasing in this way, you can cite by stating the name of the work and the author at the beginning of the passage, then including the work on your bibliography page.
To learn more about paraphrasing, check out our guide on plagiarism vs. paraphrasing .
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How to Perfect Your Paraphrasing: Advice and Examples
So, you're finally getting around to writing that research paper for your biology class and need to gather some evidence to support your thesis . Or maybe you realized that you can't just simply skim through the textbook when preparing for your next history exam (you learned you lesson on the last one…). Or maybe you're just really confused about what a particular passage is saying in your book and you're looking for a way to simplify the meaning without losing the original ideas. If this is you, you might consider paraphrasing. What's paraphrasing? We're glad you asked!
Did your teacher ever tell you to cover a book and rewrite what you just read from memory? We can remember doing this as early as elementary school, when we were learning about how to incorporate evidence into our (appropriately) elementary-level paragraphs. Your teachers were introducing you to the process of paraphrasing!
Paraphrasing is the process of rewording something written or spoken by another source to provide a simplified, clearer meaning. Paraphrasing is done at all levels, and for several purposes: teachers paraphrase material for their students' benefit, and scholars often paraphrase the sources they use in their papers and other published research . Paraphrasing, therefore, is a great way for academics to better understand what it is they are reading, researching, or studying. After all, what better way to understand material than to put it into words you're familiar with?
Paraphrasing is useful in research papers or analytical essays because it allows you to bring external sources into your own work without relying too heavily direct quotations. This isn't to say that you can paraphrase a work without referencing the source (that would be plagiarism!), but it is a good way to make your work more coherent and independent.
Now, just because we might remember being introduced to this process so early in our academic careers does not mean that it's an easy process. On the contrary, paraphrasing can actually be quite challenging. Paraphrasing requires analytical and deductive thinking and great writing skills. You must be able to read and understand material and then reword it in your own words and style while maintaining the original meaning of the source.
Summarizing vs paraphrasing
You may be asking yourself, what's the difference between summarizing and paraphrasing? While they may seem quite similar at first glance, there is a difference between the two processes.
Summarizing is a much broader concept, literally. Summaries will present the material in a much more general fashion, rewording only the biggest main ideas from a source. Summaries are almost always be short and to the point.
Paraphrasing can be about any part of a source, not just the main ideas. Paraphrasing will expand beyond the main ideas to include all the source material, although special attention may be drawn to particular points, if that was the original source's intention. There is more attention to detail in paraphrasing. A paraphrase may be shorter, longer, or the same length as the original source.
When to paraphrase
Paraphrasing is widely used in academia because it is a way for academics to provide evidence towards their own arguments or to learn more about a particular subject. When you want to paraphrase is really up to you, but here are just a few instances where you may choose to paraphrase:
- To clarify short sentences or passages from a source
- To break down a larger passage or quote from a source for clarification
- When you want to use the source as evidence to prove your argument but do not want to use direct quotations
- When you want to reword someone else's ideas
- When you want to take notes on a certain source while maintaining the original meaning of the source
- When you want to explain images from research such as charts and graphs
How to paraphrase
Since paraphrasing can be difficult, we've devised a step-by-step guide for you to follow. This will help simplify the process as you simplify your source material.
- Read the section of text, carefully : This may seem like a no brainer, but you should always begin by selecting the section of the text you wish to paraphrase and reading it.
- Reread the source, carefully : We may sound a bit redundant with all this "reading carefully" instruction, but it's essential that you use close-reading skills to deduct what is being said. Have you ever read something without reading it, like when you're skimming a paragraph but you're thinking about something entirely different, so it's basically like you read nothing? Save the skimming for another day.
- Understand what you're reading : It's essential that you understand what you're reading. This why we keep directing you to read carefully. Again, this is not a time to get distracted. You can skim material without actually reading it, but this will lead to mistakes in paraphrasing and even potential plagiarism . This is why we said paraphrasing requires analytical thinking and writing skills. If you find that you're in over your head with the source material, we suggest looking at alternative sources you understand more readily, or you could read up more on the particular source you are determined to understand. Either way, understanding what you're reading is essential to paraphrasing. After all, how can you reword something you don't even understand?
- Identify the main points : You've selected a section of the source or text you wish to paraphrase and have read it over a couple of times, ensuring that you understand the meaning. Great! Now, you should pull out the main points of the section, including any specific vocabulary or references to particular points that are essential to what the source is saying. This is what you're going to want to include in your own paraphrasing. If you find these terms or points important, then you need to highlight them in your own words. This brings us to our next step in successful paraphrasing.
- Use similar (but not exact) language : Synonyms are your best friends here. They're a great way to retain the original intention behind certain words or phrases without using the exact language from the source. For example, if a source describes something as being "impactful", you may use the world "influential" as a synonym. "Impactful" and "influential" both allude to the noun as having some kind of effect on something else.
- Retain the original source's voice/attitude : If you're reading a source that conveys a positive attitude about the subject material, then you should also maintain a positive voice when rewording the material. You may be using this information to as evidence to prove or disprove your own paper's argument. Regardless of how you intend to use this source, you must maintain the integrity of the original source by maintaining a similar tone. Changing the voice of the source would mean altering the meaning behind what was already written, which is the very opposite of what you want to do when paraphrasing.
- Create your own sentence structure : For this, we don't mean simply putting the first sentence last and the last sentence first. Remember, paraphrasing is not just changing a few words here and then and switching around the sentence order. What we mean by this is that you can (and should!) play around with the syntax. This is a great way to paraphrase the original text without losing the original meaning. You can lengthen some sentences, shorten others, or combine similar ideas into one sentence. As long as the sentences are your own, you can experiment with how you present them.
- Use quotes for specific vocab : If you're reading something that has field-specific vocabulary, it's best to quote these terms or phrases instead of using synonyms. For example, it's easy and not harmful to the original text to change the word "impactful" to "influential", as we did above. However, it's not as easy to use synonyms for a field-specific vocabulary word like "biodiversity." You should use your best judgement when determining what you should keep in quotes and what you should change.
- Be concise : The whole point of paraphrasing is for you to break down what you have read and put it into your own words to better understand it. Don't complicate things by including new terminology or explanations. Model your paraphrasing after the original while remaining clear and concise in your language and sentence structure. If you read over your paraphrased work and it seems more complicated than the original text, then you've done something wrong.
- Check your work : Now that you've paraphrased the text, compare it to the original. You should ensure that you've accurately conveyed the original meaning of the text while maintaining a safe distance from the original. What we mean by this is you should check to ensure you've done an adequate job of rewording what was already written. Although you want what you have written to have a similar meaning to the original, make sure you have not unintentionally plagiarized.
- Cite the original source : Although this may not be your usual way of including evidence in your writing, such as providing direct quotations, you do still need to cite your source . These ideas are not originally yours. Since you got them from somewhere, make sure to give credit where credit is due. This will allow you to refer back to the source that helped you and it will provide another source for readers of your work to reference. Academia is all about sharing information to expand knowledge and resources.
Although we've provided you with a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to paraphrase, you may still be scratching your head. That's okay! It's normal to struggle with paraphrasing. If you need additional help, you can use this tool . This paraphrasing tool allows you to insert a block of text from a source you're trying to paraphrase and to choose from a variety of tools that will best paraphrase the text. For example, you may be worried about paraphrasing because it can morph into plagiarism if you are not careful. Fear not, there is a tool for that! Simply paste the text into the tool and choose "Plagiarism Remover." This will paraphrase the original source to ensure you are not plagiarizing.
Examples of paraphrase
Now that you know how to paraphrase, we figured we would provide you with some of our own examples of paraphrase. We will show you the do's and don't's of paraphrasing, so you know if you failed or succeeded in your mission.
- Original : In some studies, coffee has been proven to expand the life of human beings.
- Bad paraphrase : In some studies, coffee has been proven to extend the life of humans.
- Good paraphrase : Studies have shown that coffee can extend human life.
So, what made the bad paraphrase bad? Notice how we only changed one word: "expand". We changed "expand" to "extend" but this is not enough. We plagiarized the rest of the sentence, so this is not paraphrasing. What makes the good paraphrase good? Notice how we maintained the point of the original sentence, that coffee has been shown to add years to human lives, but we did more than just change a single word. Let's take a look at another example.
- Original : Covid-19 is an airborne virus and may result in a stuffy nose, coughing, slow heartrate and breathing, and in some instances, a fever.
- Bad paraphrase : Covid-19 can be an airborne virus which results in a stuffy nose and cough, a fever, and breathing problems.
- Good paraphrase : Covid-19 can spread via airborne particles and can result in a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to, fever, respiratory issues, and nasal congestion.
Notice how our bad paraphrase changed a few words and terms but is mostly too similar to the original sentence. Also, the bad paraphrase creates ambiguity where there is none. The original states, "Covid-19 is an airborne virus" and the bad paraphrase states "Covid-19 can be an airborne virus." This is especially dangerous in medical/science writing!
Our good paraphrase changed the sentence structure, so our paraphrase ended up being longer than the original sentence, which is fine. We condensed symptoms like "coughing" and "slow heartrate and breathing" into "respiratory issues" and changed "stuffy nose" to "nasal congestion." This is an example of properly paraphrasing a source. We maintained the main ideas of the original sentence while using our own words and sentence structure.
Give it a try
Now it's your turn to try paraphrasing! Whether you're gathering evidence for your next English essay or jotting down notes to study for your next chemistry exam, try to paraphrase the source material. Not only will this help you simplify what you're reading, but it will also provide you with excellent practice for your analytical thinking and writing. It forces you to think analytically and creatively, stretching those mind muscles to think for yourself and reflect your own learning in what you write!
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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : Welcome
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What is APA?
APA style was created by the American Psychological Association. It is a set of rules for publications, including research papers.
In APA, you must "cite" sources that you have paraphrased, quoted or otherwise used to write your research paper. Cite your sources in two places:
- In the body of your paper where you add a brief in-text citation.
- In the Reference list at the end of your paper where you give more complete information for the source.
What's New in the 7th Edition of APA?
Below is a summary of the major changes in the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual.
- Font - While you still can use Times New Roman 12, you are free to use other fonts. Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans 10, and Georgia 11 are all acceptable.
- Headers - No running headers are required for student papers.
- Tables and Figures - There is a standardized format for both tables and figures.
Style, Grammar, Usage:
- Singular "they" required in two situations: when used by a known person as their personal pronoun or when the gender of a singular person is not known.
- Use only one space after a sentence-ending period.
- Developed the 'Four Elements of a Reference" (Author, Date, Title, Source) to help writers to create references for source types not explicitly examined in the APA Manual.
- Three or more authors can be abbreviated to First author, et al. on the first citation.
- Up to 20 authors are spelled out in the References List.
- Publisher location is not required for books
- Ebook platform, format, or device is not required for eBooks.
- Library database names are generally not required
- No "doi:" prefix, simply include the doi.
- All hyperlinks retain the https://
- Links can be "live" in blue with underline or black without underlining
Commonly Used Terms
Citing : The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.
DOI (doi) : Some electronic content, such as online journal articles, is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI or doi). Items can be tracked down online using their doi.
In-Text Citation : A brief note at the point where information is used from a source to indicate where the information came from. An in-text citation should always match more detailed information that is available in the Reference List.
Paraphrasing : Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.
Plagiarism : Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.
Quoting : The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.
Reference : Details about one cited source.
Reference List : Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.
Retrieval Date : Used for websites where content is likely to change over time (e.g. Wikis), the retrieval date refers to the date you last visited the website.
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- Last Updated: Jan 6, 2023 4:37 PM
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